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To the general public, Martin Gardner is not a household name. “Undiluted Hocus Pocus” is a brief biography of Gardner who is known by a wide variety of famous and obscure artists, mathematicians, magicians, puzzle makers, and scientists. Unless one subscribes to “Scientific American”, practices magic, or likes to make or solve puzzles, he/she will likely not have heard of Martin Gardner. He died in 2010 at the age of 95.
“Undiluted Hocus-Pocus” is not a great biography but it is an introduction to a fascinating man who grew up in Oklahoma, graduated from the University of Chicago (with a degree in Philosophy), entered the Navy as an enlisted man during WWII, and made a living as an author. He wrote magazine articles for children’s magazines in his early career. Later, Gardner surprisingly wrote about science, mathematics, magic, and puzzles. The surprise is because Gardner never formally studied mathematics or science.
Gardner believes in evolution and criticizes belief in Bible’ truth. Though not an adherent of Thomas Nagel’s atheism, Gardner believes the essence of humanness is consciousness; i.e. Nagel’s philosophical view of human life. Both Nagel and Gardner, according to Gardner’s biography, belong to what is called a mysterian philosophy which believes that the prime creator of life is, and will always be, beyond the comprehension of human consciousness. Gardner believes in “God” in the only way he and Nagel believe science and human consciousness allow; i.e. by a leap of faith.
If a listener has never heard of Martin Gardner, “Undiluted Hocus-Pocus” is a worthy introduction but more like a memoir than a biography.
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I loved this book. this is my first audible I've listened through the whole way. I became curious with Every book mention in the read.